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A Royal Commission into industry scandals
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What Women Want - Dec 16 / Jan 17

06 Dec 2016

With Abby Crawford

And so it was … just like you thought it would be … Or maybe it wasn’t?

As the end of 2016 screams towards us at breakneck speed, as I look incredulously at the countdowns to Christmas displayed in the shops and as I grab the festive Dan Murphy’s catalogue on my way through the already trolley-infested aisles of my favourite retail therapy store – well, I just can’t believe it’s nearly over.

2016 was going to be “my year”. I hadn’t made any ridiculous predictions of finding love, nor had I resolved to have the body of a goddess by summer (because the year I did make that resolution, well, let’s just say I’ve learnt from my experience). I’m about success these days and like to set “realistic” goals. I didn’t plan to have my mortgage paid off, or travel the world.

I did, however, plan on having a beautiful, relaxing, positive, peaceful, considered and well spent “me” year. I envisaged the doors of opportunity opening – as in quiet sliding doors that automatically open as you approach and invite you into air-conditioned bliss – and I envisaged a lot of yoga and meditation. I envisaged a sense of self-fulfilment and peace from good endeavours. You can stop giggling right now. It was a good plan.

As I reflect on the year that was and take stock of how the said plans were executed – well, I can only shake my head. 2016 was quite possibly the busiest year to date. Crazy busy. Chase your tail. Tear your hair out. Only get to the “urgent” things on your list. Send your son to school with yesterday’s socks because you forgot to turn the washing machine on kind of busy (he threatened to call welfare – entirely appropriate reaction I thought). It was the type of year I specifically said I didn’t want to have.

And so now, as the end approaches, I think “fantastic – it’s nearly over”…

But then … A funny thing is happening … As I sit and actually truly reflect on this year, as I pause long enough to let the “visual slideshow” of my memories of 2016 play, I’m smiling.

In fact I’m grinning and there’s a really lovely chuckle rising from the depths of my soul. I am seeing the smiling face of my son and his rowing mates as they come up from a fog-heavy river after early morning training eager for the hot breakfast I’ve cooked for them at the clubhouse.

I’m seeing the pride burst from their man-child bodies as they stand up there, the four of them, to collect their first medal at the Sydney International Rowing Centre and I’m recalling the tears that stung my eyes as the year of five days a week training and 4.30am starts suddenly makes perfect sense.

I’m seeing the people I volunteer with at our health committee, the Aboriginal elder telling me of his life as a stolen generation child and his passion to join our team to help his community. I’m remembering the feeling of my own pride at being able to stand on a stage and accept the health excellence award for our volunteer services.

I’m smiling as I think of the cat that’s not mine which has chosen our crazy, hectic, disorganised home as his own and how the warmth of his little body curled against mine and his purring have comforted me to sleep on many a stressed night.

I am filled with love for my dog Daisy who has licked the tears of frustration and exhaustion from my face and lumped her massive body on mine to will me to happiness.

And I’m thinking of the fact that I am so busy, so desperately tired, because I’ve actually had incredible business opportunities this year. Sure, the door of opportunity didn’t automatically and smoothly slide open – it screeched and protested as I used all my strength to out-power it’s rusty hinges – but it opened. And I walked through it.

So I have actually chosen my year, the year that was 2016. It was quite different. It was quite unexpected. And it was quite challenging. But on reflection, it was quite perfect.

If I could have one wish for you, it would be that you can see the joy, the opportunity and the smiles in even the most exhausting of times, the roughest of years. And that you can see all that you are and all that you have done. Never underestimate yourself.

“You put soul into this year, darling. You put heart into your choices. You inspired others and surprised yourself. You brightened up dark spaces. You found beauty in the most unlikely places. You dug deep into your gut so your spirit could dance again. 2016 is proud of you, lovely one. And 2017 will be too.”

And to all, have a Merry Christmas. And thank you for giving me the privilege of writing to you for another year. I look forward to 2017.

With much love

Abby xx

Thank you for all your emails, I love receiving them! You can reach me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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